Title: Murder on the Bucket List
Author: Elizabeth Perona
Genre: Cosy Mystery
Opens: … Francine McNamara loitered by the pool alone …
Blurb: The septuagenarian women of the Summer Ridge Bridge Club have gathered in secret late one July night to check skinny dipping off their bucket lists. But as Francine observes, the jittery members seem more obsessed with body issues and elaborate preparations than actually stripping down and getting in the pool. A pungent smell emanating from the pool shed provides a perfect distraction. When a dead body flops out, it’s an answered prayer for Charlotte, since the first item on her list is to solve a murder. Unfortunately for Charlotte and Francine, before they can discover who really killed the man, they must negotiate neighbourhood tours of the crime scene, press coverage of their skinny dipping, an angry Homeowner’s Association, a disastrous appearance on Good Morning America, media offers sought by a hungry publicist, and a clever killer.
My Thoughts: Elizabeth Perona is the father/daughter writing team of Tony Perona and Liz Dombrosky and as a team this is their debut novel.
Five close friends created bucket lists when they turned 60 and never really did anything with them. Now they are in their 70s they realise that they may be running out of time and maybe they should get a wiggle on and complete the list. First up is skinny dipping! Alice has a pool in the garden, with the lights out is dark and secluded and in July it is warm enough to strip off down to their wrinkled birthday suits and not be seen, or catch cold! As they pluck up courage to get in they smell a bad odour coming from the garden shed and discover the body of the mechanic of a local celebrity driver. With the arrival of the police and the neighbours the skinny dipping idea comes to a rapid end. But the notion of these elderly ladies doing something so daring takes America by storm and everyone wants to talk to them. Still when one door closes, another opens and two more items on various bucket lists can be potentially ticked off – Joy’s desire for publicity and Charlotte’s desire to solve a mystery.
The first chapter was a bit overwhelming as the story was being set up and the characters introduced – but once the body was found it settled down and I was able to keep track. On top of this the authors did a great job in reminding me of the connections and who was who. Francine is the main focus and the story is told by following her actions and listening to her interacting with the different characters getting their feel for what is going on. While the story follows the investigation by the old ladies there is also lots of fun as they are thrust into the limelight because Joy needs to be in the public eye. At one stage a live breakfast show interview is set up and I just about bust a gut laughing at how that ended up. I didn’t figure out who the murderer was at all – but when the reveal came it all made utter sense and I kicked myself for missing it.
Overall it was a fun read. The ladies were wacky, and not afraid to deal with age, the authors didn’t get tempted to make them anything other than little old ladies who are not going to give up on life without a fight. I am not a fan of car racing but the focus was on someone who was in the car racing industry rather than the industry itself, so in that sense it was good and my eyes didn’t glaze over at the mention of anything mechanical.
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C – Above average – was very readable and I really liked it but was easily able to put it down and walk away for a while.
With thanks to Midnight Ink and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.